Friday, January 16, 2015

no apologies 2015

If I could go back and tell my 20-year-old self anything, I would probably tell her two paradoxical things. 1) Don't be afraid. Your mission will mean everything to you and it's the greatest decision you will ever make to leave. 2) Coming home from a mission is pretty much the worst and you're going to have a rough time transitioning. So maybe don't go? But you probably should, idk.

I have been trying for months - even before 2015 came around - to put 2014 into words. It's marked by my return home from Japan and a cruel awakening to reality. The emptiness that I feel when thinking about my vision for my RM-self comes from feeling like I haven't lived up to that potential. Before my mission I was really good at hiding from my problems - especially academic ones - and I think I was hoping I would come home and be a much more confident, problem-facing kind of a person. Well, I came home and turns out I'm JUST AS AWESOME at hiding from my problems. In fact, I'm even BETTER at crawling into a ball and binge-watching TV shows and escaping than I was at age 20.

There are a lot of things in 2014 that I'm dissatisfied about. Most of it doesn't matter, most of it is small. But there's one overarching and recurring theme from 2014 that I recognized a few months ago that I am desperate to change for 2015.

I apologize a lot.

Like a lot.

Half of this tendency is a strength. I am hyperaware of others needs and I am quick to apologize whenever I do something wrong or if I cause an inconvenience. This isn't a bad thing at all. But that's not what I'm dissatisfied with.

For those of you who know me, you can probably think of an instance where I said, "I'm sorry" completely out of context and for no reason at all. Seriously though, people will invite me over to hang out and as soon as I'm there longer than an hour I start apologizing for them inviting me over in the first place. Um, that's just stupid. They invited me there. Obviously they want to spend time with me, or something. And yet I feel this compulsion to apologize for ME. It's like I'm sorry that I encroach on people's lives and I'm sorry that I care about people, and I'm sorry that I don't do things the way people want me to do them.

Dumb things I apologized for last week?
1. When I asked the waiter to bring me more water after he'd already forgotten twice.
2. When my friend was late to a lunch date and I apologized for getting there early.
3. When another friend asked me how I was doing and I confided in them some of my struggles.

That's stupid.

But I do it all the time.

I know I'm not alone. Women do seem to apologize more than men. Perhaps it's because we feel like we need to be liked in order to move ahead rather than just being good at something to move up. And it's totally true, I worry about approval. I worry that my best won't be enough and so my first natural instinct is to apologize the second I sense that someone isn't happy with me. And I want to change that.

Because it's more than just apologizing for convenience's sake. It's tied to a much deeper issue of a failure to recognize my self-worth. I worry that people won't like me for ME. I have always struggled with self-confidence and I just continue to bring myself further down by hiding myself behind a bunch of stupid "sorrys."

Well, what I have realized is that I'm worth a whole lot more than I'm giving myself credit for. I don't know why I feel this need to apologize for who I am to people. But I'm done doing that. That's not to say that I'm suddenly going to abandon all politeness and acceptable social behavior and never say sorry ever again. I'm still a functional human being. It's less the word, and more the state of being. What I am hoping to exterminate this year is the need I feel daily to apologize for things that don't need to be apologized for. I'm not a perfect person, but I don't need to apologize for being a person at all.

So here's to a new year, new hair, and no apologies 2015

Sunday, October 26, 2014

on being a responsible adult

Over the summer I lived by myself. Basically. The one roommate I did have got married in June and despite leaving all of her stuff around she was gone. Honeymooning and doing the married thing.

Living by myself was AWESOME. I could have a schedule that was completely my own and affected no one else. I could come home at 2 in the morning and never have to worry about silently getting ready for bed in the dark. In fact, I could dress and undress in any room of the house any time I WANTED. I would wake up, strip on my way to the bathroom to take a shower and leave a permanent trail of clothes between the two locations. There was always toilet paper. Not being a morning person never mattered because I was never under any obligation to say anything until I got to work. There was never a time where I needed to turn down the NSYNC. I never needed to worry about having company over. No one was gonna judge me for eating ice cream for breakfast while watching Friends for 6 hours straight (I will neither confirm nor deny if that actually happened). 

And I NEVER needed to wear pants. TEAM NO PANTS. 

However, there were times where living by myself was rough. Among a few obvious reasons (going to church by myself was the worst... I would talk to myself in the mirror more times than I'm comfortable admitting... I actually had to buy milk all the time since there was no one else to mooch off of... There was no one around to tell me if my butt looked good in the pants I wanted to wear for a date... ) the worst part about that summer was that there was no one else with a back up key. 

I locked myself out of my apartment not once, not twice, but THREE TIMES. 

Because I'm awesomeeeee.

Instance number 1:

It was just one of those things where I walked out the door in a hurry, got to my car and reached into my pocket to find no keys. Unfortunately the lint and old gum wrapper weren't actually going to start my car and - no - my bobby pin isn't going to get me back into my apartment either. It sucked cuz it was my birthday and it sucked cuz my boyfriend wasn't answering his phone and it sucked cuz the office to get a replacement key is in north Orem. So, like the newly-adulted-23-year-old that I was I called my mom and had her drive me to get a key. Yes, mother, I am an adult and I've been living without your supervision for over 5 years and I just locked myself out of my apartment with no way back in. This doesn't happen to me! You have to believe me!

This story by itself is A) hardly funny at all and B) forgivable and dismissible as just a fluke incident. But when you hear about this with knowledge of story 2, I understandably lose all credibility now as a responsible adult capable living on her own.

Instance number 2:

Two days later. Yes. You heard me right. You'd think that the embarrassment I felt over the first time would motivate me to, oh I don't know, keep track of my keys when I leave the apartment? To create a big neon "DON'T FORGET YOUR KEYS LOSER" sign and attach it to my door? To buy a key chain that weighed the same amount as a bowling ball so I would notice the absence? I even had TWO keys at this point and I left BOTH of them. Anyway, I had gone stargazing with a group of friends on that Saturday and got home at around 1:30. I searched through my purse for my keys as I was dropped off and the sinking "ohhhh crap" feeling slaps me across the face and all I can do is sit on my doorstep and pout. It wouldn't be so bad if the next day weren't Sunday and the office weren't surely closed for yet another spare key and if I weren't headed out to Vegas the following day and kinda needed to get in my apartment to pack and if I weren't so tired and this is what I wouldn't shut up about while JD, who was with me, was being the normally-functioning/responsible one of the two of us and starts thinking logically about our options. The struggle is real, my friends.

My apartment at the time had three windows. One is fairly close to the ground on the west side. Of course, it's locked. Then there are the two windows in the two bedrooms on the east side that are not anywhere close to the ground. Of course, one of those is unlocked duhh thanks, universe. Our options are few but JD thinks of the always accessible ladder at our old apartment complex just five blocks away. I say "just five blocks" but after we follow through with this plan to carry this heavy-A ladder it felt more like FIVE WHOLE NEVER-ENDING BLOCKS.

So yes. We did dragged a ladder across Provo to break into my apartment. My keys were sitting on the couch right next to the door. I don't even remember what could have possibly been occupying my mind so much that I left them behind. When we got in, JD promptly walks over to the other window and unlocks it. "For next time," he said. Embarrassed but still prideful I assure him that there will in no way be a next time. I learned my lesson, bro. I will NOT give girls a bad name in this.

Instance number three:

I kid you not, this was two weeks later. Don't look at me like that, I know what I said earlier. I felt a little more justified this time, though - HEAR ME OUT. It had been a pretty terrible day and I was going to go blow some steam on a run. On my way out, I read a text message that made me mad so I angrily threw my phone on the couch and slammed the door on my way out only to realize seconds later that the door was locked. So obviously, this day just kept getting better. IT WASN'T MY FAULT THE UNIVERSE WAS AGAINST ME.

This is where the other window came into play because luckily JD had taken care of that problem for me (a fact, I'm sure, he's quite smug about). The window may have been reachable, but it still required a fair amount of balancing on a precarious ledge and strategic ninja skills to get that screen out of the window (way harder than it looked). Perhaps my black belt was worth something after all: I can break into my apartment when needed and climb through like a boss.

To top off all of these embarrassing blows to my reputation as a confident, independent, can-do-all woman, this happened:

I locked my keys in my car. INSIDE THE CAR. This was at least two weeks after the third time - two weeks filled of paranoia and JD reminding me to grab my keys every single time I left my apartment and yet I still found a way mess up. BUT my window was open a crack so I went back in the store I was just at, borrowed a pen, squeezed my arm through the crack and was able to poke the unlock button with the pen. I may be an idiot for locking myself out in the first place, but I'm still pretty proud of myself for my innovative breaking-in methods. Also, I really hurt my arm.

You have to admit - for four separate incidents of locking myself out of places, my track record is still squeaky clean for never needing to call a lock-smith OR spend money to let myself in. Maybe I can be an adult after all. ✌️

Friday, October 3, 2014

some more buckets

Why did I get on that tangent yesterday?

Oh right. My bucket list. I was looking at it. And I realized that I've accomplished a lot of noteworthy things in two years. I crossed stuff off. Go ahead. Hate away. Call me pretentious while I talk about how awesome my life is. Whatever, guys. You all should know by now that despite the cool things I do and the awesome things that happen to me sometimes - I really don't have it all together, and my life is a mess, too. So don't get jealous. You don't really want to be me. I'm up front with the stuff I do wrong so I'll be up front with the stuff I do right, too. OKAY.

What happens when you have a really bad day and you fail a test (Tuesday) is you start grasping for anything that'll make you feel better about yourself. And this helped. So here's a look back on 2 years and Summer 2014. Most of these were on my list and I was able to cross them off. A few weren't, but they were nonetheless bucket list worthy.
Visit every continent - I WENT TO ASIA. Just 4 more continents to go...
These are my Asian-y pics. Hello Kitty to boot.

Go on a Mission - this was big one. I did that thing. THAT MISSION THING
+Teach someone about the gospel 
+Learn Japanese 
+Learn origami - I spent a sad amount of time making origami during language study on the mish. And I spent a lot of money buying every single origami-making book at the dollar store EVER.
+Learn to use chop sticks LIKE A BOSS

+Ride a bike with no hands. Only every day. 
I'm pretty sure I wrote home about my 22nd birthday bucket-list happenings here. Just skip to the end and look at pics, the rest is boring.

Also not-mission stuff...

Beat a video game. Thanks to doryo sama. I beat it. I beat the game. Under the tutelage of one great Julie Clingo. But I BEAT THAT GAME SO HARD AND I DIDN'T CUSS THAT MANY TIMES TO DO IT.

Do a session in the Salt Lake Temple
Slash go to all of the temples in Utah. Or something. I went to Bountiful & Timpanogos this summer too. Supes righteous.

Buy a car - and her name was Billie Jean.

Go to Las Vegas
We went to a Martial Arts Super Show as a Karate school. 
So much boss-ness.
So much Vegas-ness.


 Go to Goblin Valley - #GALAXY QUEST
And Arches... but, like, I'd already been there. Still cool, though.

...and last night I crossed off Tell a story at The Porch.

Life is all right sometimes. Here's to hoping that Fall and Winter bring some more bucket-list worthy adventures.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

something about buckets

So my companions on the miss mish (I'm REALLY sick of mish always autocorrecting to miss or sometimes mush. Mish is a WORD) would make fun of me for my bucket list. And hey, they should hate away. It's rather extensive.

I've been doing some thinking about bucket lists though. And I've even been doing some hating myself.

I feel like this is such a typical blogger/social media thing. Everyone is soooo into their bucket lists and all it does is make readers roll their eyes at how pretentious the writer is. Sometimes I see trends on Twitter where people are hash taggin' their bucket lists and I'm just like who ARE you people? "I want to take a picture of my outfit every dayyyy" cuz you're rich enough to buy everything from j crew&anthropologie. "I want to learn how to tattoo and tattoo myself" even if it looks like a ten year old attacked you with a crayon "I want to live my life with no regrets and dance in the rain" or whatever that cheesy saying is "I want to blow bubbles with bae" just STOP SAYING BAE THIS DOESN'T NEED TO BE A THING AND THIS IS STUPID. You know what's on my bucket list? Fight a BEAR. And WIN.

Here I am hating on other people's bucket lists, jeez. I really have no room to talk. My own bucket list stemmed from a family home evening activity when I was twelve. In the Mormon-world, Monday nights are devoted to family time in this cute little acronym-ed evening called FHE. These activities were rather sporadic when I was a teen because I was the only child living at home and we were often on different schedules. But this particular night still stands out to me and we (all three of us, baby) sat down and talked about our dreams. I think I love this memory so much because not only did I first begin to open my mind to the potential and possibilities for my life, but I also was able to get to know my parents in a different way by hearing about what THEY dreamed about.

You can tell this stemmed from the brain of a 12-year-old because it's like automatic NUMBER ONE SKYDIVING since that's, like, everyone's go-to and then BAM number two is to get my Young Women award thing from church since, like, duh. It was on my mind. This list has stuck with me for over ten years, though. This is why I can't be a true hater - I mean we go way back, bro. I still love my list and the goals I have set for myself. Granted, it has evolved over the years and some of the items from back then were just silly. Like watch all 6 Star Wars and all 3 extended versions of Lord of the Rings in one sitting. Which I did. When I was fourteen. Because I'm AWESOME. ANYWAY, the list thing has helped give me a vision of what I want to accomplish in life and I'm all for that. It's been a way to keep track of things I have done and write down whenever I do have goals for myself. Like every single time I pay rent I add "have more money" to my list. Or every time I watch a James Dean movie I add "marry James Dean" but then that isn't possible because he's dead. That's the only thing getting in the way of that relationship, obvs.

But I've decided not to get hung up on my "list" anymore - and I feel good about this decision. Oh, my list will still be there. But I will not let it detract from that wonderful lil thing called spontaneity. Some of the greatest "bucket-list-worthy" adventures I've been on came from no list, from no pre-planned ideas, just from friends being idiots and wanting to experience life and recklessly discover. I can't write down every single "awesome" thing that I want to experience with my life preemptively. So as great as it is to check things off a list... Sometimes I need to remind myself to just take a step back and remember to experience life as it comes.

As Dan says in Dan in Real Life, "instead of telling our young people to plan ahead, we should tell them to plan to be surprised."

p.s. Do you have a bucket list? Are you a hater? I'd love to hear.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

stories on rejection: from japan to the call center

Over the summer, I decided to work two jobs for a while to earn a little extra money. And by for a while, I mean for about a month and a half. I wasn't working full time at the MTC and once spring let out of school I had a lot of free time with not that much money. So I applied around, I interviewed at a bunch of places, and I wound up with a job at a call center. #livingthedream.

I'd heard plenty of horror stories about call centers. And it's not like I was looking forward to making calls straight for four hours. But I was far past the point of caring what kind of work I did as long as it paid. And, well, to be honest it wasn't that bad.

1. It paid decent enough. I scraped in around $10 an hour with opportunities for bonus money every day.
2. It was super easy. I felt like I was as good as any other employee after four days of calling. You pretty much just sit there and wait for the computer to make a call for you and then read a script. And, like, I'm pretty good at talking or something.
3. It was convenient. Close by, the hours fit in well with my other job, and I didn't feel the pressure of staying on into the school year.
4. They generally played pretty good music.
5. It wasn't straight cold calling. The people had at least checked a box online that we could contact them (whether or not they knew they were doing that is a different story - but it's still better than cold calls). And we were providing a good service by telling people about educational opportunities in their area. Anything's better than sales.
6. Pizza Fridays. Also Rebecca Black on repeat Fridays (you win some, you lose some).

My Sodalicious addiction began with this job.
Dirty Dr. Pepper for daysssss.

People knock on call centers mainly because of the mean people. This part bothered me the least.  My coworkers would get down when they just got hang ups all day and I'm like, "Hey, who cares? You get to talk less, ammiright?" Really, it doesn't get all that much worse than a hang up. But, like, I hang up on telemarketers all the time, so who am I to hate? I'll admit, there were days where people were just flat out rude and go off on insulting me and I'm like, "Sir, you haven't even seen my face so how can you know I'm ugly?" Seriously, people need to think through their insults more. But in the end I was mostly just entertained when people got rude. It provided for some great tweeting material and stories to tell at the end of the day.

[Going through qualifying questions]
"How old are you?"
"What year did you graduate high school?"
"Are you currently enrolled in school?"
"Are you a US citizen?"
"Okay, are you a permanent resident?"
"No, I'm here illegally."
"Oh are you?"
"Yeah, I'm from Africa and I'm actually really worried that they're gonna kick me out of the US."
"Sure you are."
"Yeah, I mean like I've got AIDS and I don't know what to do cuz I left my parents back in Africa and they got eaten by lions!"

Of course they did.

Other Call Center greatest hits:

Customer: "Who's calling my damn phone?"
Me: "Hi, may I speak with Angela, please?"
"No you may NOT!" *click*

"No, I don't want any education EVER. I'm stupid and I just want to get belligerently drunk all the time so could you please stop calling?"

75 year old man: "Listen, honey, I don't really care about what you have to say and I don't want to listen. But if no one else has told you yet today, I love you. Bye!"

"Nah, I'm not interested. But listen Lauren, you have a really cute voice. You give me a call when you get off work, okay?"

Me: "Are you just not interested for the moment? Or not at all?"
"Not at all for the moment."
"...That doesn't answer my question."

"Sorry, I'm in the shower."
"Then why did you answer the phone...?"

Me: "We're calling because we saw you were online looking for career and education opportunities..."
"I can't use a computer, I don't even know what offline is to go online!" (someone actually said that once).

"Hi, may I speak with Walter?"
"Who is this?"
"This is Lauren from the blah blah blah center."
"Where are you calling from?"
"We're located in Utah."
"Are you Mormon?"
"Yes, actually I am Mormon."
"Oh, I don't talk to Mormons." *click*

I can never escape that one, I guess.

Freak, I served a mission. I guess the rejection over the phone really never phased me because nothing can top the rejection I got every single day as a missionary in Japan. You can say that I've gone to the big leagues with rejection, you feel me? But in that case, it was something I cared about that I did full time, not something that I did for 4 hours a day to pay rent. Nevertheless, I remember some pretty good, entertaining times I had over there, too.

"Hey we're..."
"No thanks."

*sticks hand and waves it in front of their nose and walks away.*
What, do I smell, or something? We dubbed this common "no-thank-you" gesture the shark fin.

"Hey, we're the missionaries..."
"No thank you, I'm busy."
"Oh, will you just take this flyer then, if you don't have time to talk?" 
"No, my hand hurts and I can't hold the paper."

"Hi, we're the missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints!"
"Oh, I'm not Christian." *walks away*
Obvi you're not Christian, why do you think we wanted to talk with you?

"Hi we're the church of Jesu..."
"No thank you."
"Oh do you have religion?" 
"No, I just don't like you."

I knocked on a door once and I was greeted with, "Sumisu (Smith)?"
Shocked a little bit I was all, "Um, yeah that's my name?"
She blabs on a little bit about this one time we met and then I remembered seeing her about a week earlier. She seemed excited to see me again, but had no time to talk.
"Oh well, okay, could we come back tomorrow sometime and say hi?"
She BURSTS out laughing at the preposterousness of the proposal and just says, "No no no no." and then closes the door.
"Okay! Just asking..."

Someone comes to the door dripping wet, wrapped in a towel and just says, "Sorry, I'm in the shower!"
"Yeah, you didn't even need to come to the door, lady."
 Seriously, why do people do these things? Apparently the shower excuse is universal.

"Hi, we're the Church of..."
"Any talk like that is NO!" *slams door*

"I'm actually just about to leave..." (doesn't)

"I can't speak English!"
"Oh we speak Japanese!"
"Um... I have to go."

We ran into this one man while knocking on doors. He seemed to be in his mid 40's and he seemed to think we were beautiful. I asked if he had a family and he said, "No, they're all dead. Ladies are welcome!"

And my personal favorite:
"Hi! My name is Sister Smith! How are you?" response or any sort of acknowledgment that I exist.

[but hey, we got popsicles from a lady who rejected us once. you can't hand out popsicles over the phone]
[believe it or not i've looked worse]

People are hilarious, guyz.

Nah. The bottom line is that despite the ease, despite the convenience, despite how much I loved awkward conversations while waiting for the computer to load and trying to pronounce unpronounceable names, and despite the pizza - YES EVEN THE PIZZA - that job just sucked. It is the epitome of a "staring-at-the-clock-willing-it-to-turn-faster" kind of job. The rejection never phased me, but I think that was why that job was never worth it in the first place. The rejection phased me a lot in Japan, but that's because I was fighting for something I cared about. I was helping people and it made me sad when they didn't want to hear from us. The rejection was worth working through for a year and a half. Not even the funny stories at a call center were worth more than a month's time.

You have funny mission rejection stories? Ever worked at a call center? I'd love to hear about it.

Also, life lessons learned from funny customers at the bookstore.  

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

home is a fire

What's your name? Where are you from? What are you studying? I wish I could count how many times I have asked and BEEN asked those three questions in my collegiate career. I wouldn't be surprised if it reaches the thousand range by the time I leave BYU. I went to my new singles ward last Sunday. After an hour of socializing I could not handle one more awkward handshake, one more awkward conversation with a recent returned missionary and I could NOT stand the "where are you from" question one more time. 

Name? Not that hard. I'm Lauren Smith. Most common last name in the US, it's all pretty easy to spell with some pronunciation troubles in the first name. (Loh-ren, not Lah-ren). But we can breeze past this question quickly enough. 

Major? Meh, sometimes I say Communications and then people think business. Sometimes I say Journalism. Sometimes I say Communications with an emphasis in Journalism. Sometimes I say Journalism in the Communications program. I like to shake things up. Generally this question is responded with some slightly bewildered looks, some "Oh you don't hear that very often!"'s and some "So is journalism going to be obsolete in 5 years?"'s. 

The where are you from question, though. This is a struggle. I have hated saying I'm from Utah ever since I moved to Springville in 2001. And really, I love Springville. It's home in more ways than it's not. But I grew up in Wisconsin. Minnesota. It's Minnesota. I realize that this post will probably just open a can of worms with a few select friends of mine who think it's funny to try and convince people I'm from Wisconsin. *COUGH JULIE CLINGO COUGH* Let the record show: I'm not from Wisconsin. I'm from MINNESOTA. For realsies, I was born there and my family spent 20 years there. The relationships and friendships that my family and I have from there are among the most precious friendships that we could ever ask for. My heart is with Minnesota. 
These are all around '97ish besides the 2nd one which was taken in 2001 right before we moved

So here are my response options:
-Option 1 is just to say Minnesota. I mean, I was born there and technically spent longer there than Springville. But I have come to the conclusion that I can't really respond Minnesota just by itself. It's been over 10 years since I lived there. I'll be real. 

-Option 2 is just to say Springville. Generally this works out okay for me, tbh. I know a lot of people from Springville. I know every back road to Reams and twenty different ways to get to Mapleton. But then two things could happen (and both have happened to me) 

1---The person asking me ends up being from Minnesota. I say "woahhh where?" And they say "Oh, Twin cities ish." "No where?." "Ah you probably won't know but Minnetonka." "No way, I grew up in Eden Prairie, do you know so and so?" "Yeah! Wait I thought you said you were from Springville..." 

2---"Oh did you go to Springville High? What year did you graduate?" "Well actually I was only there my freshman and sophomore year." "Oh?" "Yeah I mean I would have graduated in 2010 but then I moved." "Oh where did you move to?" "Tahiti." "Wait whuuuuu?" 

So generally this question is responded differently every time. My go-to is "Grew up in Minnesota, moved to Springville when I was 11 and my family is there now." But either way it turns the conversation complicated. 

Life's tough, guys. 

Anyway, I visited Minnesota just a few weeks ago to see my best big brother Adam. And, I kid you not, I have only felt that good stepping off an airplane one other time in my life and that was the last time I visited Minnesota when I was 14. It FEELS like home. The air is different. Minnesota nice. Target. Lakes. Trees. Mall of America. Downtown. Great parks. Twins games and the Target field. GREEN. Target. Good eating. So many friendly and happy people. Apples. Music. The snow gets tedious but it sure is pretty. Minnesoooota accents dontcha know aboot that? Also, Target? 

Back to those pictures up there briefly. Besides the part where I'm super cute (I know, right?) there's something about them that captures a lot of my love for both Minnesota and my childhood. There is something safe and special preserved there. It's just... happy. Happy in a place I loved with great friends, a great school, a great neighborhood, and great snow. I remember my parents telling me that we were going to move to Utah and despite the great prospect of being close to my then newly-wed sister and brother and law, I was devastated to leave. I wasn't just leaving behind a place I loved, but a childhood bliss that could never be equaled in a different location.

I may have more connection to Springville. I may know more people and know the town better and my family might live there now. But there is something that I just FEEL about Minnesota. I love it so much. My heart is there, and I re-realized that this summer. 
Nothing without my A Smith as my tour guide and fellow WNBA fan (not really. We just went to a game. And that MVP Maya Moore chick was pretty awesome)
 Yupp. Same swing set.

But all that emotion/feelings stuff isn't very easy to convey in response to a four-word question, you feel me?

Saturday, September 6, 2014


Don't I look like such a sister missionary? Probably because, OH WAIT, I was one. Two years ago I went into the MTC. That realization hit me like a ton of bricks yesterday and it was weird. The whole mission thing seems like such a dream - like it never happened. There are, of course, tangible evidences for having served a mission. I speak Japanese now. I'm super mature now (obvi). I'm nowhere close to graduating from college even though I started 4 years ago. My pictures on Facebook suddenly switch from short-hair Lauren to long-hair Lauren (NEW ALTERNATIVE TO EXTENSIONS: just disappear to Japan for a year and a half) (Also, I miss my short hair a lil bit but that's neither here nor there). Things like this.

September 5, 2012 feels like a lifetime ago. I'm so different from the person I was then - for better and for worse. I look at these pictures from the beginning of my mission and I'm just like who IS that? And how can I look more like her because she's skinnier than I am! But seriously. It's crazy how much things change over the space of a mission - besides your weight. Anyway, I remember that first day pretty clearly, but it was entertaining to go back and read about it. Here are some first impressions of the MTC according to my beloved journal Theodore (yes, I name my journals. Haters gon hate).

Well I'm in the MTC now. Here's what's up:
  • Elders are really young.
  • I don't speak Japanese. At all.
  • Gym orientation videos are awesome.
  • Cannon center food...
  • I forgot a towel
  • We sang Called to Serve today. Let the tally begin.
  • I got lost once.
  • And we forgot our scriptures to this one thing.
  • Don't compare yourself to anyone, Lauren, STOP IT.
  • Be grateful for diversity.
  • There aren't enough hangers.
  • We did an activity with actor-investigators. I mock everyone silently for their naiveté but I don't know what I'm doing either. (obviously I'm supes humble)
  • I keep wanting to speak French.
  • I had a 19-year-old call me out when I said "yessir." He said, "actually, you need to call me Elder." PLEASE.
  • This is going to be hard.
  • I met really cool people today including my companion, Sister Clingo (Julie from Springville whom I had met before), my roommates Sister Peterson and Sister Silva, the one chick who showed me around, and Sister Buhler who is also going to Fukuoka.
  • I'm exhausted.
  • I hope I can wake up tomorrow.
September 6, 2012
I feel like I've been awake for three days.

...Very tired.

...Very very tired.

Hahaha. I probably said the word "tired" like sixteen more times in that second entry. I'm glad that future Lauren couldn't tell MTC Lauren that the fatigue would never go away because I might have gone home right then. 

It's really funny to see missionaries now go through the same things. It all comes back full circle, or something. Yes, I am working at the MTC. Yes, another day I can write about how that's going it's great. Along with the fatigue, I remember the Japanese - which is probably the number one topic of conversation with my missionaries now. I remember our second day having a teacher try and get us to sing from the hymn book - which is all written in Japanese stuff likeあいうえお. I'm looking at this like, "really, you want me to sing right now?" And then they just Japanese at me and I'm like "Dood I English." So then they say, "look it up in the dictionary if you don't understand." And I'm like, "HOW THIS IS CHICKEN SCRATCH NOT A LANGUAGE." "Just look it up! You know!" "No... I don't know." So then they'd kinda try and show me the Japanese alphabet system thing and I'm still just like "This means nothing to me. It's just squiggles. ABC, that's an alphabet." 

I also remember just feeling different. The MTC was a little spiritual bubble. I learned a lot. I loved being spiritually nourished every day. I loved feeling like I was becoming a better person. 

More than anything, though, the most tangible evidence - and the thing I'm most grateful for - of this whole experience is the relationships I developed.

I met a lot of people over that year and a half. But there will always be something special about this first group that I knew in the MTC. Two years ago I met these great people. Two years later and my life wouldn't be the same without them. ❤